Politics & News

Humanitarian Aid Conference on Gaza Opens in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza in Paris on Thursday that will welcome officials from more than 50 countries as well as from UN agencies and NGOs.

Israel, which has been bombarding the Palestinian territory since Hamas’s October 7 attack, will be absent.

UNRWA chief : Aid entering Gaza through Rafah crossing is inadaequate

Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said Thursday that there is a need for meaningful continuous humanitarian aid to Gaza, including fuel.

Speaking at the opening of a conference in Paris on Gaza aid, Lazzarini also said aid coming in through the Rafah crossing with Egypt was inadequate, adding that all crossings into Gaza should be opened.

The UNRWA chief also said he was concerned about the spillover risk of the situation in the war-torn Palestinian territory, adding that the West Bank “is boiling”.

Macron: Israel has ‘eminent responsibility’ of abiding by law

Speaking at the opening of a Paris conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Israel has the right to defend itself, but that it also has an “eminent responsibility of abiding by law” as it responds to Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack.

Civilians in Gaza are “paying the price” of the Israel-Hamas war, Macron said, adding that the population “has to be protected”.

 Macron says countries must ‘work for a ceasefire’ in Gaza

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that there must be a humanitarian pause very quickly in Gaza and that countries must also work for a ceasefire.

“Civilians must be protected, that’s indispensable and non-negotiable and is an immediate necessity,” Macron said at the start of a humanitarian conference on Gaza in Paris.

Negotiations under way for Gaza ceasefire in exchange for hostage releases, officials tell AP

Negotiations are under way for a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of about a dozen hostages held by Hamas, according to two officials from Egypt, one from the UN and a Western diplomat, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The deal would enable more aid, including limited amounts of fuel, to enter the besieged territory to alleviate worsening conditions for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped there.

QatarEgypt and the United States are brokering it, according to the officials and the diplomat.

Officials from more than 50 countries expected to attend Gaza humanitarian aid conference in Paris

Officials from Western and Arab countries, the United Nations and nongovernmental organisations are gathering Thursday in Paris for a conference. They will review ways to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during the Israel-Hamas war, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the conflict, wants the conference to address the besieged Palestinian enclave’s growing needs including food, water, health supplies, electricity and fuel.

“More than 50 nations are expected to attend including several European countries, the United States and regional powers like JordanEgypt and the Gulf countries,” the French presidency said.

Also attending is Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Israeli Authorities Won’t Participate

All governments nevertheless have “an interest in the humanitarian situation improving in Gaza, including Israel,” a Macron aide told reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the gathering.

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN’s top aid official and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross are expected to provide details about urgent needs in the Gaza Strip.

More than 1.5 million people – or about 70 percent of Gaza’s population – have fled their homes, and an estimated $1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis.

Israeli forces, Hamas fighters battling in Gaza City

Palestinians living in the heart of Gaza’s largest city said Wednesday they could see and hear Israeli ground forces closing in from multiple directions, accelerating the exodus of thousands of civilians as food and water become scarce and urban fighting between Israel and Hamas heats up.

The Israeli army has not given specifics on troop movements as it presses its ground assault, vowing to crush Hamas after its deadly October 7 attack on Israel.

But residents said Israeli forces had moved into inner neighbourhoods of Gaza City amid intense bombardment all around the surrounding north.

Clashes took place within a kilometre (0.6 miles) of the territory’s largest hospital, Shifa, which has become a focal point in the war.

US” Palestinians should govern Gaza after war”

Palestinians should govern Gaza once Israel ends its war against Hamas, the United States said on Wednesday, pushing back against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s idea that Israel would be responsible for security indefinitely.

A month after Hamas gunmen from Gaza launched their deadly attack on Israel, Washington has begun discussing with Israeli and Arab leaders a future for the Gaza Strip without Hamas rule.

While a plan has yet to emerge, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday outlined in the most comprehensive comments on the issue to date Washington’s red lines and expectations for the besieged coastal territory.

“No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza,” Blinken said at a press conference in Tokyo.

Blinken said there may be a need for “some transition period” at the end of the conflict, but that post-crisis governance in Gaza must include Palestinian voices.

US senator says Gaza civilian toll ‘too high’

US Senator Chris Murphy said Wednesday that it is “vital” for Israel to carry out a more targeted offensive in the Gaza Strip to limit civilian casualties.

“I think that the civilian death toll has been too high and a more surgical approach would be important and vital,” Murphy, a Democratic member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told AFP.

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